CIA and Google invest in precrime detection software

July 31, 2010

The CIA and Google are both making headlines this week because, as Wired Magazine’s Danger Room reports, they are both making heavy investments in the same signals intelligence firm simultaneously, prompting talk that the internet giant is merely a front for the spy agency, like BCCI or Air America once were. Just like something out of the Philip K. Dick novel The Minority Report, the company, Recorded Future, analyzes web searches and internet posts through a sophisticated cross-referencing algorithm to predict future events, which the CIA hopes to employ as an enforcement tool against precrime: crimes that have not yet been committed. Former CIA Director Michael Hayden is quoted by Wired as saying “there’s a real satisfaction in solving a problem … with information that someone was dumb enough to leave out in the open.” The company uses “spatial and temporal analysis” to identify who you are, where you are and what you are planning on doing. “Sentiment analysis” allegedly identifies how you feel about it, and what your motivations are. Of course, this reporter cannot help but wonder if the government and corporate spooks can pick up on the sarcasm and incredulity of this report.

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